TODAY’S READING: 1 KINGS 13-15
“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything.” – 1 Kings 14:25-26
Rehoboam lost all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of his own house. Understanding the symbolism of the numbers and names connected with the loss of the treasures will help us see Jesus in this brief passage of scripture.
The name Rehoboam means “enlarges the people” or “the people is enlarged.”
When Rehoboam was made king, Jeroboam and all Israel asked Rehoboam to ease the burdens of their service and the heavy yoke that was upon them. But, instead of listening to the advice of the elders, Rehoboam listened to the advice of the young men, which was to make their service even harder and the yoke even heavier upon them.
Therefore, we know that the implication of the meaning of the name Rehoboam is not a positive one. Rehoboam was not name “enlarges the people” or “the people is enlarged” because he gave them more freedom.
As we will see below, the meaning “enlarges the people” has to do with enlarging, or magnifying, the flesh. Rehoboam’s focus was on the flesh and the carnal mind.
THE FIFTH YEAR OF HIS REIGN
Rehoboam lost the treasures in the fifth year of his reign.
The number often symbolizes grace. However, like many of the numbers used in the Bible, the number five is a positive symbol and a negative symbol, depending on the context. Rehoboam’s name, along with the story itself, tell us that the symbolism of the number five is used for its negative symbolism in this story.
What is the negative symbolism of the number five?
Man has five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot, and five senses. Therefore, the number five, in its negative connotation, symbolizes the flesh. More than that, it symbolizes man being ruled by the flesh. This is why the Philistines were ruled by five lords, which symbolised the Philistines being ruled by their natural, earthly senses of their flesh.
The name Shishak means present of the bag.
The word bag is used 15 times in the scripture. Eleven times the word is used in relation to money. And, twice the word is used to carry the fruit of this world. Interestingly, the number 11 symbolizes judgment, and the number 13 symbolizes rebellion.
(As an aside, could this be why Jesus told his disciples not to take a bag or money in Matthew 10:10, Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3 when he sent them out to heal, preach repentance, and proclaim the kingdom? They were to have spiritual treasures with them, not earthly treasures.)
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
So, Shisak, the king of Egypt, a type of Satan, the god of this world, comes against Jerusalem, the city where God’s named dwelt, the place of worship for the people of God.
But, Shisak came against a king who was about enlarging the flesh and has his mind set on the flesh, carnal things, the treasures of this world, mammon. Therefore, Shishak was able to take the treasures of the house of the Lord (spiritual treasure) and the treasures of Rehoboam’s house (earthly treasure).
THE TREASURES OF THE HEART
Because Rehoboam had his heart set on carnal things, earthly treasures, he lost both his spiritual treasure and his earthly treasure.
Shisak took from him all the shields of gold made by Solomon. A shield covers you. And, gold is symbolic of the divine nature. These shields were made by Solomon, who is a type of the resurrected Jesus. Therefore, because Rehoboam had his heart set on carnal things, earthly treasures, mammon, Shishak, the god of this world, was able to rob Rehoboam of the covering of the divine nature. This is how the their comes to steal from us.
So, Rehoboam made shields of bronze to replace the shields of gold. Bronze symbolizes judgment. Judgment brings condemnation and destruction. Therefore, instead of being covered by the divine nature, which brings forgiveness, Rehoboam covered himself in judgment, condemnation, and destruction.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If you set your heart on earthly treasures, then that’s where your heart will be. I think the first thought is that the moth and rust destroy and the thieves steal our earthly treasures. But, I think the reality is that the moth and rust destroy and the thieves steal our hearts and their affections. Worse than losing the earthly treasures is losing our hearts. By laying up treasures on earth, we cover ourselves with shields of bronze, judging, condemning, and destroying ourselves.
Therefore, Jesus says we are to lay up treasures in heaven. Then our hearts will be set on the Spirit. Moth and rust can’t destroy and thieves can’t steal treasures. By laying up treasures in heaven, we cover ourselves with shields of gold, the divine nature, forgiveness.
What are these treasures we should lay up in heaven?
Simply, the answer is Jesus. Thoughts about Jesus. Knowledge of Jesus.
In Luke 2:19 and 51, Mary treasured up the things she heard about her son and his purpose.
In 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, Paul said, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But, we have this treasure in jars of clay.” The treasure we have is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus. This is what we must lay up for ourselves and set our hearts upon.
In Colossians 2:2-3, Paul struggled that our “hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The treasures we truly need are in Christ in heaven. Therefore, we need to lay up those treasures so that are hearts are set upon spiritual matters.
A REIGN OF 17 YEARS
In 1 Kings 14:21, we are told that that the reign of Rehoboam lasted 17 years. Like the number five, the number 17 has a duel meaning.
Genesis 7:11 says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of heaven of were opened.”
This took place before the Hebrew calendar changed when Israel left Egypt in the exodus at the passover. Therefore, what was the second month in Genesis 7:11 is now the eighth month. This is the only month without a festival or feast in Israel. It is known as the bitter month.
Further, the flood, which was the judgment of man’s evil and wicked heart, which was completely given over to violence, began on the 17th day of the month.
Rehoboam’s reign lasted 17 years as a symbol of the judgment of his heart that was set on the earth, the flesh, the treasures of the earth, the present in the bag of the Shishak, the king of Egypt. So, he covered himself in shields of bronze, or judgment.
But, the number 17 has positive symbolism too.
Genesis 8:3-4 says, “At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”
What day is the seventeenth of the seventh month?
Remember, Genesis 8 was before the Hebrew calendar changed after the exodus. If we do the conversion, then the seventh month becomes the first month, the month Nissan, the month of the passover. And, the seventeenth day becomes the day that Jesus was resurrected and rose from the grace.
That’s why the ark, a picture of Jesus, landed, overcoming the flood, on the seventeenth day of the month. Instead of judgment, the number 17 then symbolizes Christ’s victory over judgment, condemnation, destruction, over the enemy that comes in like a flood, and the ruler of this world.
In Daniel 7, the beasts that come to attack the kingdom of God have seven heads and ten horns. In Revelation 13:1, John saw a beast rising out of the sea “with ten horns and seven heads.”
10 + 7 = 17
Jesus overcomes, gets the victory of this beast. Jesus was judged on the cross, but it was the defeat of Satan. Judgment becomes victory.
The day of atonement occurs in the seventh month on the tenth day of the month.
10 + 7 = 17
The day of atonement is a day of affliction, judgment, that ultimately becomes a day of victory.
Psalm 83:6-11 lists 17 enemies that come against Israel:
These are even broken up into seven that were defeated – the last seven in the list – and ten that will be defeated – the first 10 in the list.
The end of the psalm, verses 17-18, says, “Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”
The 17 enemies came to judge Israel, but it was turned into the victory of the Most High over all the earth.
Finally, look at Romans 8:35, 37-39.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
- or distress,
- or persecution,
- or famine,
- or nakedness,
- or danger,
- or sword?
No, all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither
- death nor
- life, nor
- angels nor
- ruler, nor
- things present nor
- things to come, nor
- powers, nor
- height nor
- depth, nor
- anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
7 + 10 = 17
Nothing of the seven or the ten can separate us from Christ. In all these things we are more than conquerors.
What is a more than a conqueror?
It’s one thing to conquer a land or a people, but it’s an entirely different thing to maintain the possession of the land or conquered people.
When set our hearts on the treasures above, we become more than conquerors, possessors of the shields of gold, the divine nature, forgiveness. Then we can partake in the victory of Christ.